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Life or Death Preparations – Building a Solid First Aid Kit


We have always had first-aid kits at home and in our vehicles.  Since we are stocking up for the possibility of not being able to get necessary items later, I had a good look at those first aid kits.  Wow, were they severely lacking in what could be needed medical supplies in an emergency if we were not able to get medical help.  That got me to thinking, what would be important to have, that is legal and available?

First, I checked out what were the most likely causes of death:

•Heart disease


•Chronic lung diseases

•Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases)

•Accidents (unintentional injuries)

•Alzheimer’s disease


•Influenza and Pneumonia

•Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis, kidney disease

•Blood poisoning

•Intentional self-harm (suicide)

•Liver disease


•Parkinsons disease


That is sort of an eye opener. Many of the reasons for death in the US could be diet related. Wikipedia had this to say:

“Death statistics in the United States In 1900,

the top three causes of death in the United States were pneumonia/influenza, tuberculosis, and diarrhea/enteritis.

Communicable diseases accounted for about 60 percent of all deaths. In 1900, heart disease and cancer were ranked number four and eight respectively.  Since the 1940s, the majority of deaths in the United States have resulted from heart disease, cancer, and other degenerative diseases.  And, by the late 1990s, degenerative diseases accounted for more than 60 percent of all deaths.

It should be noted, however, that lifestyle diseases have their onset later in an individual’s life and need a longer lifespan in order to become the cause of death.  This suggests that the life expectancy at birth of 49.24 years in 1900 was too short for degenerative diseases to occur, compared to a life expectancy at birth of 77.8 years in 2004.  Also, survivorship to the age of 50 was 58.5% in 1900, and 93.7% in 2007.”

Alright, that means that emergency medicine right now could be simply preventing it in the first place by living a healthy lifestyle.  That would encompass the first four, heart disease, cancer, chronic lung and stroke.  Eat healthy, exercise and don’t smoke (yes I know there are exceptions).

The next one is accidents, that is where the sutures for cuts, hemostats, splints for breaks and bandaging comes in.  Thermometers, blood pressure cuffs, and such as you can afford it would be good.  Did you know that honey, especially Manuka honey is an antibacterial dressing?  You may want to research silver as a healing property as well, as it is said to have healing and purification properties.  There are also some thoughts about septic wounds being exposed to real sea water as miraculous.

Perhaps you could put diabetes II and alzhiemers in the healthy lifestyle column as well.  Regardless, those are not likely to be emergency deaths as they span years and death is from the complications.

Next on the list is something that could easily become an emergency and that is influenza and pneumonia.  Knowing how to make an electrolyte solution to drink could come in handy:


4 cups water
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 Tbsp sugar or honey
1/2 tsp salt

It used to be that you could get veterinary antibiotics from the feed store or pet supply online but that has stopped now.  Stockpiling antibiotics is not the answer because most decay in storage after 3 years and you can’t get them without a prescription anyway.  They have been overused and the addition of low-dose antibiotics in our animal feed has made antibiotics less and less effective.  Irritating to think about, because they are not used for the health of the animal but to make it grow faster.  Makes one wonder why we have so many obese people and if there is a tie?!

Back in the 70’s, I had an older friend who went through the influenza epidemic at the early part of the 1900’s.  She said she went to the doctor to get help for her parents who had come down with the flu long before there were antibiotics available.  He told her, there was nothing he could do but to go home and feed them as many onions and garlic as she could.  Her mother could not eat, but her father was served all manner of onion and garlic soup and survived.  We know now that garlic and onions etc are antibacterial.

Other than homicide and suicide, I believe a study in herbal therapy, especially Chinese herbs would be a good direction to take with the remaining disorders.  I also keep a supply of over the counter medications, rotating them according to the expiration date and I do this about the first of the year.  I take the expired meds to a pharmacy to dispose of them properly.  You can find out where they are accepted by putting in your zip code at

So, if we find ourselves without the ability to get medical care and a life or death situation comes up, it seems logical to get the needed information and supplies NOW so that we can do what we can with what we have, then. Take a first aid course.  Make sure you have medical emergency books available so you will be prepared in a life or death emergency.


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20 Comments on "Life or Death Preparations – Building a Solid First Aid Kit"

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  1. mamahen says:

    I couldn’t agree more with learning herbal therapy. A couple of really good books to have on hand
    are The Authentic Kloss family Back to Eden by Jethro Kloss and Herbally Yours by Penny C. Royal. Unless ABSOLUTELY needed, I will not give my children antibiotics, I go for the herbal treatment first. Back to Eden is a great book, but reads like a bible (it’s very thick) Herbally Yours is a much easier book for a quick go to guide.

  2. tank says:

    with a title like “building a solid first aid kit” you’d think somewhere in the article there would be, oh, i don’t know, a list of items to include in a first aid kit. there was one short paragraph that mentioned a few appropriate things for a kit but that was about it. i agree with a lot of what you said, but jeez, either make a list of items or change the title. it was very misleading and by the wiki excerpt i was seriously annoyed.

  3. Ron says:

    Some good info, but also some wrong/misleading info. And not much at all relating to your title. Maybe you should have called it something like, “An Alternative To The Usual First Aid Kit”. Just my opinion.

    • Hi Ron,

      What part of this do you consider “wrong/misleading info”? Part of the responsibility we have as writers is to open up discussions and thoughts. I would value continued learning on this subject. My hope was to find out what are the possible life and death scenarios that face us today and then make preparations towards the best outcome.

    • Ron says:

      Sandra, You make the comment that antibiotics “decay in storage after 3 years”. This is not true. Even the U.S. government knows this. They have a program that deals with extending the expiration dates on many of the drugs they have in storage in huge quantities. A lot of research is available to verify this. Most drugs in pill form can be stored and used for many years beyond the manufacturers expiration dates (in some cases, 10 to 15 years or more!). This includes over the counter drugs. Did you know that in many 3rd world countries, the drugs shipped to them are 3 to 5 years past their expiration dates? Many of them will loose some of their effectiveness, but in a collapse scenario, something is better than nothing! I do agree with the need to know the natural remedies, but we also need to know the truth about things if we are to prepare as best we can. Not meaning to ridicule or pick on you in any way. I’m just a strong believer in putting the truth out there. Myths make great stories around the campfires. But adhering to myth when prepping can be fatal. 

    • Yes, I know there is some discussion out there about that. A major medical website has it here:

      Others in the pharmaceudical business feel that every type of medicine has its own particular decay rate. Usually a lot of work is put into getting a minimum of 2 years shelf life in cool dry conditions.

      Most antibiotics are among the sensitive and easily denatured medicines. As proteins, or more specifically oligopeptides, they are subject to hydrolyzation, the main form of attack. Heat and moisture are the enemy.

      So under tropical conditions, many can go bad in 6 months or less, while lasting a few years in good conditions.
      I believe the major problem is with liquid antibiotics. And no, I don’t feel picked on. Sharing ideas is what we do.

    • Nehweh Gahnin says:

      Just a note:  Expiration is not the only (or even main) reason that antibiotics will quickly be in short supply.  The other reason is the USE (or typical OVER-use) of antibiotics.  If the manufacturers are shut down (or supply/transportation/economy), the manufactured drugs will go quick. Fortunately, Mother Earth gave us plenty to work with.  I think that is your more important point, Sandra.  Thanks for educating!

  4. Endyr says:

    I would like to offer a slightly different approach to this challenge. In a disaster situation with the lack of availability of modern pharmaceuticals, should we not look to history for the principle causes of death before they were available at all? So, in a disaster situation, if we won’t have the “normal” life-prolonging medicines, we should look to the main causes of death in the past before we had them at all and then plan a first aid-2d level kit accordingly. Additionally, a big part of health in the past was behavior modification in order to avoid exposures if my memory serves me.

    Prevention imho to the greatest extent possible is very important. One element of that is immunization. When was the last time we went to the doc and said, let’s get all the immunizations out of the way as if we were joining the Peace Corps and heading to the jungles. All those unpleasant injections NOW just might save our hides later.

    The BIG loss will be absence of antibiotics, no doubt. If the veterinary channel is no longer available, then make sure your team either has a veterinarian member OR become one. With manual labor being the big component in a disaster survival plan, injury will occur, and simple injury without antibiotics will kill people, just as it did before they were available.

    My humble .02

    • Interesting thoughts Endyr. You may be right, that the reason for death statistics may change dramatically. Add the death reasons now, to the death reasons from the past without antibiotics and the survival rate could be lessened significantly.

    • Nehweh Gahnin says:

      I totally agree Endyr, except the part about antibiotics.  The first thought I had as I read the respective causes of death in 1900 and now is, “I won’t be stocking up for what we die of today, because we’ll be dying from broken legs and mosquitoes more than cancer.”  Antibiotics would be nice in the front end of a long-term grid-down situation, but not after the first year or two. The author is absolutely correct about turning to natural herbs and foods, and the use of colloidal silver, which can be produced easily at home through electrolysis.  My wife makes a killer remedy we call “Super Tonic”, and the garlic and onions are a major ingredient.  When the flu starts going around, folks from all around flock to us for that, because it works.

    • I am glad you felt the article was educational, Nehweh. Do you suppose your dear wife would share that recipe for “Super Tonic”?

      I appreciated your comments.

  5. Thanks for including that recipe for the electrolyte drink – important for people to have even if they print it out and file it. They will remember it when they need it!

  6. Nehweh Gahnin says:

    Hi Sandra.  Sorry for the delay in my response.  This is an alternate e-mail that I don’t check every day, and it has been a real busy week.

    Here is the recipe for Super Tonic:

    Equal parts onion, garlic, horseradish root, ginger root, and jalapeno peppers.  Blend into apple cider vinegar.  1/4 cup of each food, and 4 cups vinegar, as a ratio.  Once you have blended these ingredients, set aside in a glass jug and strain off by Foley food mill.

    Dosages:  1-2 tablespoons as needed.  Can be taken hourly.  May be mixed with citricidal, but if this is done, it should be cut by juice.  The citiricidal should NOT be taken hourly, due to its acidity.  2-3 times x day is sufficient, and never more then 14 drops at a time.

    This will help knock out most flus & colds in half the time.  The better nourished and rested the recipient is, the better the results.

    Try this out and let us know what your experiences are!  We kept an activist encampment going throughout an entire winter with this stuff!

    Nehweh Gahnin.

  7. VetMike says:

    Sandra, thanks for the thoughtful article. I am an Emergency Physician with an interest in wilderness/survival medicine. Once I began prepping I automatically began thinking about “medicine after the fall”. Being a scientist, I looked for evidenced based information. After a long search I have started to think that preppers are Luddites. I have found so much misinformation and outright fabrications that I had almost given up. Fortunately I found your article. Even though I don’t necessarily agree with all you say (I’m not exactly big on herbal medicine) your article is the first I’ve found that takes a reasoned approach. It seems that many folks haven’t even considered what diseases kill us or what to do about the after the fall. How many people noticed that the major killers prior to immunizations and antibiotics were infectious diseases or the effects of disease? Yes, the food industry has criminally overused antibiotics as well as growth hormones and so forth but antibiotics are still helpful if used appropriately. I hope to see more of your articles. Who knows, I may try my hand at writing some myself. God bless and have a good day. 

  8. Mike says:

    “Back in the 70′s, I had an older friend who went through the influenza epidemic at the early part of the 1900′s. She said she went to the doctor to get help for her parents who had come down with the flu long before there were antibiotics available.”

    Antibiotics aren’t used to treat influenza, or any virus for that matter… If you’re making that statement, I have to ask; what is your expertise in this subject matter?

  9. So can you please recommend a good online herbal course, one that allows you to become certified?

  10. Denise says:

    I’m confused, since when are antibiotics used to treat the flu? And yes, the title is very misleading for the actual content.